June 20th 2019 | Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh


Mandy Rhodes

Managing Director, Holyrood Communications and Editor, Holyrood Magazine

Mandy is Managing Director of Holyrood Communications Ltd,she is also editor of the flagship title Holyrood magazine and responsible for the editorial content of all other associated titles and products.

Mandy graduated from Stirling University in the early 1980s with a joint Honours degree in Scottish History and Sociology. She trained on a local newspaper in Wester Hailes and completed her journalism training at Napier University.

She has worked for nearly 30 years in journalism in Scotland in newsprint, television and radio broadcasting and was part of the launch team of Scotland on Sunday. Mandy has won numerous awards over the years including PPA Magazine Editor of the Year, Feature Writer of the Year and Columnist of the year. She was social affairs correspondent at Scotland on Sunday where she broke a number of major child abuse stories and regularly lectured at Liverpool and Aberdeen universities on child protection issues and has also taken part in a number of documentaries on the subject.

Sir George Reid

George Reid is a former journalist, diplomat and director of the International Red Cross who served as the MP for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire from 1974 to 1979. He was elected to the first Scottish parliament in 1999 and was appointed as its second Presiding Officer in 2003. He navigated the parliament through the difficult days of its construction and at its official opening urged MSPs to “listen to the building” to inspire them in their future endeavours.

Sir John Curtice

Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and Senior Research Fellow at NatCen Social Research

John Curtice is Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University and Research Consultant to the Scottish Centre for Social Research. He has written widely about public opinion and voting behaviour both within Scotland in particular and the UK as a whole, as well as being a frequent media commentator on these subjects.  Recent publications include Has Devolution Worked? (co-ed.) (Manchester University Press), Revolution or Evolution: The 2007 Scottish Elections (co-author) (Edinburgh University Press), and Personality Politics (Oxford University Press) (co-ed). He is also co-editor of the annual British Social Attitudes report series and Chief Commentator at the whatscotlandthinks.org and whatukthinks.org/eu websites.

The Right Hon Tricia Marwick

Tricia Marwick was born and brought up in Fife where she has her home. She was elected as an SNP MSP to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and was elected Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament in May 2011, resigning her party membership, and stood down in May 2016. In this role she chaired meetings of the Parliament, The Scottish Parliament Corporate Body and the Parliamentary Bureau; in addition to representing the Parliament at home and abroad. Tricia is a member of HM The Queen's Privy Council and is chair of NHS Fife Board.

David Clegg

Convenor of the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists Association

David Clegg is the Assistant Editor (Politics) of the Daily Record and the convener of the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists’ Association.

A regular pundit on TV and radio, he previously worked at the Dundee Courier and the Dumbarton Reporter.

He has been named political journalist of the year at the Scottish Press awards on three occasions.

Holyrood MSPs editorial panel - Tavish Scott

Born in 1966 in Inverness, Tavish Scott attended Anderson High School, Lerwick, Shetland and Napier University, Edinburgh, where he attained a BA (Hons) in Business Studies. After graduating in 1989, Tavish Scott worked for Jim Wallace MP in the House of Commons. He became Scottish press officer for the Liberal Democrats in 1990, before returning to Shetland to run his family's farm. From 1994 to 1999 Tavish Scott was a local councillor representing Lerwick Harbour and Bressay Ward on Shetland Islands Council. He was Vice-chairman of the Roads and Transport Committee and Chairman of Lerwick Harbour Trust. 
Mr Scott held the post of Deputy Minister for Finance, Public Services and Parliamentary Business from 21st May 2003 until 29th June 2005. Mr Scott held the post of Minister for Transport in the Scottish Cabinet June 2005 until May 2007. Mr Scott was the Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats from August 2008 until May 2011.

Louise Macdonald OBE

Chief Executive, Young Scot

Louise is Chief Executive of Young Scot, the multi award-winning youth information and citizenship charity. Working in partnership across all sectors, Young Scot supports young people aged 11-26 to make informed decisions and choices, connecting them to their communities using digital and smart-tech. There are currently 670k members of Young Scot – over two thirds of young people in Scotland. She has been CEO for ten years and prior to that had a varied career in journalism before moving to the public sector, specialising in youth volunteering and community enterprises. Louise is Independent Chair of the First Minister’s Advisory Council on Women and Girls; on the Board of the Scottish Parliament think tank Scotland’s Futures Forum and in June 2017 was elected President of the European Youth Card Association (representing 37 countries and 7m+ young cardholders). An award-winning “Social CEO”, she can be found online @Louisemac – often featuring her passion for photography and nature.

Holyrood MSPs editorial panel - Pauline McNeil

Pauline McNeill was selected in 1999 to represent Glasgow Kelvin as first ever Member of the Scottish Parliament for the constituency. She was re-elected in 2003 and in 2007. A qualified graphic illustrator, graduate of the University of Strathclyde Law School and former President of the National Union of Students in Scotland, before being elected she was a trades union official, representing health service, hospitality and factory workers. In the first term of the new Parliament she was elected Vice-Chair of the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Party before being appointed as Justice Committee Convener.

She convenes Parliament’s cross-party group on Palestine and a group on the Contemporary Music Industry. Pauline McNeill’s involvement in the latter reflects her previous experience as a band manager and keen musician. In 2006 Pauline McNeill was a UN observer in the Palestinian Authority elections and later that year she also visited the Lebanon, in the aftermath of the Israeli bombings there, previously she spoke out as a strident opponent of the war in Iraq.

Following the elections in May 2007 Pauline McNeill was appointed Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years and subsequently Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice. She currently serves on the Labour front bench as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Europe, External Affairs and Culture and Scottish Labour spokesperson on the Constitution.

Holyrood MSPs editorial panel - Donald Cameron

Originally from Achnacarry in Lochaber, Donald graduated from the University of Oxford. He then worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC before returning to the UK to study law. He qualified as an Advocate at the Scottish Bar in 2005 and practised across Scotland. He was appointed a Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government 2009-2016.

He was elected a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Highlands and Islands Region at the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May 2016 and currently acts as the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

In Parliament, he sits on the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform committee, co-convenes the Cross Party Group on Health Inequalities, and sits on the Cross Party Group on crofting, and Gaelic, among others.

Holyrood MSPs editorial panel - Neil Bibby

Neil Bibby is a Scottish Labour MSP elected on the West of Scotland regional list. Born in Paisley, Neil grew up in Renfrewshire and went to the University of Glasgow. Bibby had been Chair of Young Labour UK and Chair of Scottish Labour Students. In 2007 he was elected to Renfrewshire council in Johnstone North, Kilbarchan and Lochwinnoch ward. Before becoming elected to the Scottish Parliament he worked for Jim Murphy MP and Ken Macintosh MSP. He is currently the Scottish Labour Chief Whip and is a substitute member on the Welfare Reform Committee, as well as Co-Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Rail and the Deputy Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Visual Impairment.

Bibby stood for the Paisley seat in the Scottish Parliament election, 2016. He was defeated by the incumbent SNP MSP, George Adam, but was elected on the West Scotland List.

Holyrood MSPs editorial panel - Gail Ross

Elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016, Gail Ross is the SNP MSP for her home constituency of Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross. She is currently the Deputy Convenor of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, a member of the Equality and Human Rights Committee and a PLO to the First Minister.
Prior to her election, Gail worked as the Officer Manager for Rob Gibson MSP and served as a Councillor for Wick and the Caithness Civic Leader. During her political career, Gail has championed local services, the rural economy and animal rights, including as the species champion for the Red Squirrel. She is also currently taking forward a Cross Party Group on Adverse Childhood Experiences.
Outside of parliament Gail is a mother, the owner of four cats, an amateur poet, and a board member of the North Highland College and the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership. In her spare time she is a keen cook and gardener.


Holyrood MSPs editorial panel - Kate Forbes

Kate Forbes

Kate Forbes is Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy

She was elected as MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch in 2016 and as a backbencher served on the Scottish Parliament's Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, the Health and Sport Committee and the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. She also served as Parliamentary Liaison Officer for Finance and the Constitution.

Mark Diffley

Mark Diffley Consultancy & Research (MDCR) and former Director, Ipsos Mori Scotland

Mark specialises in public opinion research and political analysis, providing services to the private, public and third sectors in Scotland. He now runs his own specialist consultancy, Mark Diffley Consultancy and Research, following his ten years as director of Ipsos MORI Scotland.

The core of Mark's career has been focused on impacting policy and political decisions through high quality research, and on delivering polling and insight to inform election and referendum campaigns. He has delivered some of Scotland’s most significant social research studies and advises various organisations on how to understand public opinion and make the most of research findings.

Michael Crow

Michael is RBS Group’s Head of Public Affairs and a member of the bank’s Scotland Board. His background is in politics and journalism. From 1997 – 1999 he was Westminster Correspondent for STV covering the 1997 general election, the devolution referendum and the Scotland Act. He then returned to Scotland in 1999 to cover the opening and establishment of the Scottish Parliament. Michael worked as STV's Political Correspondent until 2009 and also presented a number of the station’s programmes, both political and non-political. He then moved to the Conservative Party as Director of Strategy and Communications in Scotland before joining RBS in 2010.